Big Walnut High School football coach Joe Weaver is proud of the dedication he's seen from his players so far this season.
The Golden Eagles were 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the OCC-Capital Division before playing Mount Vernon on Oct. 5.
"The kids show up every day and they're playing each week for that week and trying to take advantage of every opportunity to get better," he said. "They're great to be around and a fun group to coach."
Big Walnut travels to New Albany on Friday, Oct. 12, for an OCC-Capital game. New Albany improved to 5-2 and 4-0 by defeating Olentangy 33-14 on Oct. 4.
Last season, Big Walnut lost to New Albany 34-31 but ultimately shared the OCC-Capital championship with the Eagles and Olentangy Orange, as all three finished 6-1 in the league. The Golden Eagles beat Orange 35-34 and Orange beat New Albany 32-7.
Big Walnut posted its second consecutive win by defeating host Watkins Memorial 27-14 in an OCC-Capital game on Sept. 28. The Golden Eagles led 20-0 at halftime and maintained that lead until the fourth quarter.
"Our kids came out to play," Weaver said. "It's always a tough environment over (at Watkins Memorial)."
Watkins Memorial's defense focused on stopping Big Walnut's running game and held the Golden Eagles to 51 yards rushing on 24 carries. However, the Golden Eagles had success through the air, as senior quarterback Carson Chatterton completed 12 of 20 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns.
"They had a lot of people in the box," Weaver said of the Warriors. "It was tough getting anything going against them because of what they were doing and how well they were doing it. We improvised a little bit and tried to get something going through the air."
Wide receiver Gabe Kitchen had three catches for 91 yards against Watkins Memorial, including a 59-yard touchdown in the first quarter. In the second quarter, running back Christian Johnson caught a 44-yard touchdown pass and wide receiver Parker Marsch had a 12-yard touchdown reception.
Big Walnut closed out its scoring in the fourth quarter with an 84-yard interception return by free safety Adam Shaheen.
Through six games, Chatterton was 51-for-86 passing for 698 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions and had 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 49 carries.
"He's a good kid and a smart kid," Weaver said of Chatterton. "He's a competitor and loves to play. He had a great week of preparation (leading up to the Watkins Memorial game). He's one of the guys that works hard every day and the people around him respond to that."
Through six games, junior defensive lineman Austin Crow led the Golden Eagles with 22 solo tackles and five tackles for loss. Junior linebacker Alec Eisnnicher had three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Senior defensive backs Seth Myers and Shaheen had combined for eight interceptions through six games, including two by Shaheen against Watkins Memorial.
"We've got a bunch of kids who play well and step up in big moments," Weaver said of his team's defense. "It's hard to narrow it down to one or two or three (players who have been standing out). It's all of them. The best thing about this group is they pick each other up."
Cowans advances to district in boys golf
The boys golf team competed in the 14-team Division I sectional tournament Oct. 2 at Darby Creek, finishing eighth (329) behind Dublin Coffman (303), Olentangy Liberty (312), Westerville North (320), Hilliard Davidson (323), Lancaster (324), Marysville (326) and Hilliard Darby (328) and ahead of Worthington Kilbourne (333), Hilliard Bradley (336), Buckeye Valley (357), Pickerington Central (362), Westland (417) and Franklin Heights (527).
The top four teams and top four individuals not on a qualifying team advanced to district Tuesday, Oct. 9, at Apple Valley.
The Golden Eagles had qualified for district last season as a team.
"I thought we could probably do better," coach Chuck Workman said. "We certainly have the potential to do better, but we're competing against some good schools. I don't want to take anything away from them."
Senior T.J. Cowans advanced individually to district by shooting a 78 and tying Marysville's Morgan Tarrant for the third qualifying berth, behind Lancaster's Trevor Cohen (72) and Buckeye Valley's Clay Walter (75).
"I wish the team would have made it out," Cowans said. "But I'm happy to move on."
Cowans shot a 41 on the first nine holes but shot a 37 after the turn to secure a district berth by one stroke.
The top three individuals at district advance to the state tournament Oct. 19 and 20 at Ohio State's Scarlet Course.
"I got off to a rocky start, so I was a little worried," Cowans said. "But I pulled together in the end."
Also competing at sectional for the Golden Eagles were sophomore Ryan Cunningham (81), sophomore Kyle Gose (83), senior Evan Cannell (87) and sophomore Kyle Bash (87).
"I got a few sophomores and they maybe got a little nervous," Workman said. "With a little more maturity, I'm sure their junior and senior years will go well."